The Edmonton Oilers went from a top performing playoff team in 2016-17 to a struggling franchise that didn’t even come close to earning a playoff spot last year. Quite a difference in years. Yet among all that went wrong last season, the team got the most out of their star player Connor McDavid, who captured the Art Ross Trophy for a second year in a row.
McDavid, who enters his fourth NHL season and first as the highest paid player in the league, posted 30 goals and 70 assists in the 2016-17 season for 100 points. He easily walked away with the Art Ross Trophy as the next closest were Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby with 89 points. Behind them was Washington’s Nicklas Backstrom with 86, as well as Boston’s Brad Marchand and Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov who both had 85 points.
In 2017-18, despite a lesser team that struggled, McDavid’s numbers only got better as he posted 41 goals, 67 assists and 108 points, but the competition only increased as two other players broke the 100-point barrier, including Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux who had 102 points and Kucherov who went from 85 points to 100. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (98 points) and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon (97 points) rounded out the top five. However, while five players in 2016-17 had 85 points or more, that number altered quite a bit last year as 15 players had 85 points or more, giving McDavid even more competition.
There are several players who could compete with McDavid this year, including Kucherov who continues to improve at 24. Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall finished the season with 93 points, while MacKinnon, who is just 22, is also a young player who can still take his game to the higher level. Or could someone else take that next step?
So the question is, can Connor McDavid lead the league in points again?
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